Iloilo DIY Trip: After 6 Hours of Delayed Flight

Right after work with no sleep but full of excitement we took a cab around 3am to get to NAIA Terminal 4. Heavy rain started to pour as we near the airport. Remaining optimistic, we successfully checked-in at around 4am and waited for our flight scheduled to leave at 6am via Tiger Air. I bought a coffee and watched tv whilst waiting for the boarding time. 5 mins to 6am and yet no announcement of boarding. Few minutes later, flight was moved to 645am due to additional aircraft servicing. I was fine with it but then another announcement came saying 745am instead of 645am. Wow!

8am – no announcement, no nothing. Several people started approaching the one and only Tiger Air staff stationed in the boarding area. No clear picture of what is happening and what is going to happen. As time passes, more and more people were complaining and shouting then the Tiger Air staff left. No one was there to answer questions which made us more pissed off. Even the staff from the paging room started calling for any available Tiger Air personnel. When one finally came they still failed to give a definite departure time for our flight. Bacolod flight was also affected. Flights from other carriers were all leaving as scheduled.

905am – announcement of further delay was all we could hear. Departure was set to 11am this time with no guarantee. What’s going on?!

11am – still not very clear but the staff reassured us that they’ll get us boarded before noon. That’s a total of 6 hours delay. Wtf?! 6 lost hours! Anyway, at around 1130 they started giving out food ration and boarding started 1145. Finally! It was a relief for most of us. This made me think if I will ever fly again via Tiger Air. There’s too much negativity already so I decided to just check our itinerary for the day and stay positive.

We finally landed at Iloilo Airport at 110pm. We took a van going to SM City Iloilo for 50/head. On our way, heavy rain started to pour. At SM, we decided to grab a snack at TEDs hoping for a much favorable weather before heading to our chosen hotel.

Van going to SM City Iloilo

At around 3pm, we checked-in at Chito’s Hotel for 750/night. Tired and sleepy but with no time to waste, we took a cab going to Fort San Pedro. Nothing much to see here but Guimaras Island on the other side. Fort San Pedro is located along San Pedro Drive and is accessible if you take Jaro jeep. This is also close to Plaza Libertad. Cab fare from Chito’s to Fort San Pedro costs 70 pesos.

Chito’s Hotel Entrance

Fort San Pedro

We then took a Jaro jeepney that passes by along Bonifacio Drive to get to Museo Iloilo. Fare costs 7 pesos. Admission Fee is 50 pesos for adults and 20 pesos for students. They are open Monday-Saturday 9am to 5pm only.

Museo Iloilo

We got stuck near the museum because of the rain. Oh well! Finally when the rain stopped we found our way to the nearest Biscocho Haus for a quick bite located near the rotunda in front of the provincial capitol. It was almost night-time but we decided to just walk along Calle Real. This is more of like the “Escolta” of Iloilo City. Commercial establishments are here as well as the residences of the ilonggo elite. Before getting a jeepney to SM City Iloilo we bought Lanzones and Rambutan.

Biscocho Haus

Rotunda

Calle Real

Super Sweet Lanzones

At SM, we decided to watch an Indie Film titled Alagwa before heading to Promenade for dinner. It was a film about not losing hope despite all odds. It also tackles issues about child trafficking. An interesting film to watch.

Alagwa

Promenade is located along Iloilo Riverside Boardwalk. This area is now closed to vehicular traffic and was recently beautified with cobble-stone laden road perfect for jogging and biking. To get here from SM, just take any jeepney.

Riverside Boardwalk

At promenade, we had dinner at Punot. We ordered baked clams and a fish dish (sorry I forgot what it is called). The food was great! Highly recommended if you visit Iloilo.

Baked Clams

At Punot

After dinner we went back to our hotel for a much-needed rest.

This is part of our Iloilo 5 Day DIY Trip last October 12 – 17, 2013. See full Itinerary and Expenses HERE.

NOTES

Chito’s Hotel
Phone: (033)3376135 or (033)3377929
Email: chitoshotel@ymail.com
Web: http://chitoshotel.netfirms.com

*Jeepney Minimum Fare: 7 pesos

Other places you can visit here:

Jaro Cathedral – Church of St Elizabeth of Hungary. This was built in 1864. Just take a Jaro Jeepney to get here.

Molo Church – located within the plaza area of Molo district. Very accessible if you take cab from anywhere in Iloilo. By Jeepney, just take one with Molo signboard near Robinson Mall. You can also take Villa/Arevalo to get here.

Guimbal Church – One of the oldest in the Philippines. Just take a Guimbal Jeepney to get here.

Miagao Church – a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Iloilo. This is 30 to 45 minutes away from Iloilo City Proper. One can take a Miagao jeepney from Mohon terminal in Molo district or from Iloilo Terminal Market known as Super in downtown Iloilo.

Baguio Day Trip

With nothing to do one weekend last August, I saw a post in CS FB page from Plan B Adventure Madness about their Baguio-La Union Road Trip and decided to join. It was only the day before when we asked for details and confirmed just few hours before the trip. Lucky enough we were able to secure 2 slots.

Road to Baguio

Road to Baguio

I know most of you have been to Baguio maybe for a couple of days but a day trip?! Yes it is possible. Below are the places you can visit here in a day provided you have your own transportation. Asking around is pretty easy so don’t worry if you’re not good in directions. All you need is an amazing bunch of people and you’re ready to go. Oh don’t forget your jacket or hoodie just in case.

1. MINES VIEW PARK
This park is one of the most visited and popular park in the city. The breathtaking view of the mountains can be seen at its view deck. At the entrance, a variety of stalls sells native handicraft, jewelry, clothings, sweaters, blankets, souvenirs and food items. You can also have your picture taken with the famous St Bernard dog or simply wear the tribe costume for a small fee. You can also ride a horse and strike a pose. Just recently, 7-11 opened a branch near the food stalls.

2. BREAKFAST AT OUTLOOK DRIVE
Not your usual breakfast hub located at Brgy Outlook Drive Barangay Hall. This place offers yummy Bulalo and Charcoal Grilled Milk Fish early in the morning. Local patrons flock this place for a nice treat to start off their day. Serving is quiet hefty perfect for those with big appetite.

3. GOOD SHEPHERD
Its close proximity to Mines View Park makes this place an ideal place for a quick stop if you want to buy their products. They are popular for their fruit preservatives, ube, coco and strawberry jams, peanut brittle, and cashew nuts. They also sell organic products like coffee and ginger tea. Colorful flowers and assorted trees can also be within the compound. You can even smell the pine trees in the area.

4. THE MANSION
The Mansion is located along Leonard Wood Road and right across from Wright Park.With its elaborately designed main gate and beautiful garden, it is favourite of many for sightseeing as well as picture taking. Not to mention the jump shots.

5. WRIGHT PARK
This park features the Pool Of Pines which can be seen in front of the main gate of the Mansion. Tall pine frees can be seen around the area. At times, locate artists here sell their work of art. On the other side of the park, one can ride a pony. You can also have your picture taken wearing the local Igorot Dress or simply have your picture with the local Igorots at a certain fee (ask first before striking a pose)

6. PHILIPPINE MILITARY ACADEMY
This site was developed as a training facility for military. You’ll be asked for an identification card before you can enter the facility. At times, you’ll see cadets running around. A monument was also built in the area near where old canyons and tanks were displayed.

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7. BAGUIO CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL
This church located on top a hill is one of the most visited landmarks of Baguio. One can walk going here from Session Road. This is considered to be the biggest catholic church in Baguio.

Baguio Cathedral

Baguio Catholic Cathedral

8. SESSION ROAD
Session Road is one of the busiest street in Baguio where you’ll find all sorts of establishments like restaurants. banks, department stores, cafes, hotels, bakeries, bars, small boutiques and bazaars. People here seem to have good discipline as well and crosses the road only when the light is green.

Session Road

Session Road

9. TAM-AWAN VILLAGE
To find the village, take Bokawkan Road then turn left at Ferguzon Road then right to Tacay Road which is uphill. Upon reach the top take a right turn and then you’ll reach Tam-Awan. The village showcases some great artworks and how the local tribe lived before. Walking tour can be requested for group tours. They also have coffee shop where you can spend some time. They also have souvenir shop selling locate products and native handicrafts. You can also but the local wine here. One can also stay here overnight and commune with nature. Entrance fee here ranges from 20-50 pesos.

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If you have one more day to spare in the city, you can visit any of the below places of interest

  • Burnham Park
  • Lourdes Grotto
  • Camp John Hay
  • Lion’s Head
  • Bell Church
  • Botanical Garden
  • Teacher’s Camp
  • Rizal Park

This was part of my Baguio-La Union Trip last August 24-26, 2013. You can check the continuation of the trip by clicking HERE

Tara Let’s Go Asia Random Trip 1: Discovering Rizal

Ever went on a Random Trip with total strangers? Quite interesting right? Well, I know at least two people from this trip when Tara Let’s Go Asia first held their meet-up. Few days before the actual trip, I saw the below on my feeds and went through the details. There was no specific Itinerary or plan and all you have to do is to bring yourself and enjoy. The concept was new to me so we joined. It’s a chance to meet Random People and do some Random Stuff to a Random Destination.  Kewl!

We arrived just in time and waited for a few minutes then off we go. Wondering how we’re going to get to our destination? Yes! a Jeepney. An Air-conditioned Jeepney! It’s bigger than a normal jeepney, more of like a mini-bus only that it’s locally made. 🙂

Just few minutes after leaving the parking lot near El Pueblo a traffic enforcer stopped us to query what the heck the Jeepney is doing Ortigas. The jeepney rented plies through Makati area and since we’re at Ortigas it’s normal for an officer to stop a public vehicle that is out of its normal route. It’s very important if you consider renting one to have a permit, drivers know this so don’t worry.

To start of the trip, our 1st Stop was Antipolo Cathedral – Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Shrine. The Jesuits administered the church from 1591 to 1768. Built by the Rev. Juan de Salazar S.J., the church was ready for Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje in 1632. The church was greatly damaged during the Chinese uprising of 1639 and in the earthquakes of 1645, 1824 and 1883. For three centuries now, this church has been the object of pilgrimages all over the Philippines. People go here to get blessings before going on a trip.

Just before leaving the area, two of our foreign friends tried our local kakanin known as Suman.

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Our 2nd Stop. Situated in Brgy Bombongan Morong Rizal, we went to U-Ugong Park (Bantayog ng Kalinangan). The park is owned by Mr. Rafael Pacheco, a locally and internationally recognized artist because of his paintings. Filipinos from various status recognize the extraordinary of “Mang Paeng” and is now considered as the Father of Bare- Hand Painting in the Philippines. When you visit the place you’ll see almost all of his artworks. During the early 60’s-early 80’s Uugong park was known for its beautiful waterfalls. It is a usual summer picnic location for families and friends. Uugong means echo, which has been derived from the loud echo or sound produced by the strong current flow of the falls. The place right now needs a lot of help. The used to be vibrant place now seems to be slowly decaying if no attention will be given soon enough. Mr Pacheco who suffered from stroke was glad enough to talk to us and showed us his artworks. He has a very good sense of humor.  It was truly an honor to meet him in person.

Mr Pacheco’s Paintings

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Around U-Ugong Park

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Somewhere in Tanay Rizal, we had a thrilling adventure to Tanay’s Calinawan Cave which is our 3rd Stop. Bust just before getting there, we had lunch at a random eatery. Our damage? Just roughly 40 pesos including a glass or two of Soda. 🙂

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Going back to Calinawan Cave, the cave is a 20 minute drive from Daranak Falls. The hill where the cave is called Rawang. which have been strong-holds of Filipino resistance fighters against colonizers. To get to Calinawan it’s better to bring your own mode of transportation or else you’ll have to endure a long walk unless you’re into it. Entrance Fee is 20 pesos per head and Guide Fee is 200 per group of 5. The entrance to the cave is a small stair-like passage going down. Along the way the guide will tell you different stories and show different rock formations. Living stalagmites and stalactites are still present in the cave which is a good sign. Several movie productions have been made in this caves making it popular to some. Along the way, a small black bird fell on the ground. According to our guide the bird produces birds nest which is used in making the famous birds nest soup. It took us roughly 30 minutes to finish the trek. The exit is grand, you will need to pass through the two big rock formations towering at around 30 feet.

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After Calinawan Cave, it was time to take a dip at Daranak Falls, our 4th Stop. Daranak Falls is located in Brgy. Sampaloc, Tanay, Rizal, a few minutes from Tanay market. It is a government-owned park and part of the laguna watershed. Entrance fee is 20 pesos per head for adults and 15 pesos for kids. They are only open from 8AM to 5PM. To get more information, please visit my other post here. Picnic tables are available for a minimal cost. Toilets and Shower Rooms are available for just 5 pesos per use.

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What to do after? Haha. Yes! It was time to eat… Not sure yet where until we pass by this interesting restaurant along the highway. Our 5th Stop, Kata Cafe it is! It is located at Delfin Tongohan St., cor. Manila East Road, Tanay, Rizal. Surprisingly we thought food would be expensive until we saw the menu and the food was served. OMG! It was a hefty serving for a price of small serving you’ll normally get if you buy it in Metro Manila. The food was delish and I highly recommend people to go here and try their food. The place was cozy as well. Very inviting and relaxed. Nice place for a chitchat and to hangout with friends. A nice escape form hustle and bustle of the city.

After dinner, we went to Binangonan Rizal in search for a cheap place to stay overnight until we ended up staying at Eastroad Apartelle. The place is located #8 Manila East Road Calumpang Hi-Way Binangonan, Rizal. Price starts at 150 pesos. Before ending the night, we had few beers and excellently picked videoke songs.

The following day, we’re off to an early start by having a quick breakfast. We then went to our 6th Stop, Angono Petroglyphs. The Angono Petroglyphs Site Museum is situated at the municipality of Binangonan, province of Rizal, three and a half kilometers southeast of the town of Angono. The museum is open Mondays-Fridays between 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. It was discovered in 1965 by National Artist, Carlos “Botong” Francisco during a field trip with a troop of boy scouts. He reported to the National Museum the existence of a cave with drawings of a primitive quality. The Angono Petroglyphs date back to circa late Neolithic. They are located in the rear recess of a cave, carved in a rock formation belonging to the Pleistocene Guadalupe Formation. There are 127 figures engraved into volcanic tuff that was soft enough to be worked on by a denser piece of stone. Unlike other examples of prehistoric art, there is no indication that colors were ever incorporated in the drawings.

It was amazing to see this kind of stuff for the very first time. I wonder if there’s more like this somewhere else. Only time will tell and the question is when? Hopefully it’s not yet late for us to see it.

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After seeing Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs, it was time to go forward to our next destination. So we arrived on our 7th destination, Balaw-Balaw Restaurant & Art Gallery.  The main concept of the restaurant is to promote the culture and tradition of Angono by way of its food and arts. It is also a home to the “Higantes” the stars of the fluvial town fiesta every 23rd of November. Entrance fee to see the Art Gallery costs around 35 pesos. It might be free if you decided to eat here. Around 100 paintings of the late famous folk artist, Perdigon Vocalan are displayed in the Museum, influenced by National Artist, Carlos Botong Francisco. Vocalan’s paintings represent Angono’s rich cultural heritage and folklore. These paintings along with intricate sculptures were also inspired by Philippine Legends that are now immortalized by his works. The collection also features works by his 2 son, Rembrandt and Andre as well as other notable Filipino artists. The Museum’s design itself is a work of art with its Spanish Architecture and unmistakable Asian flare.

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Just few steps from Balaw-Balaw is the Nemiranda Art House and Atelier Cafe Restaurant, our last destination for the trip. The art gallery entrance costs around 50 pesos but is normally free for those who wish to eat here. On our way inside, one of the staff said that Nemi Miranda himself will be there. So without any second thought we decided to settle here for lunch. Nemesio R. Miranda Jr. “NEMIRANDA” was born on February 14, 1949 in Angono, Rizal, he attained his Bachelor of Fines Arts Degree at the University of Sto. Tomas. The place is open daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and is located at 10 Doña Elena Street, Doña Justa Village Phase 1, Barangay San Roque
Angono, Rizal.

So after seeing all the artworks, Nemi suddenly arrived and gladly accommodated us by spending 20-30 minutes of his time telling us stories, plans and developments in the world of arts, showing us his artworks and the history behind it. Wow! It was a memorable experience. He even told us that the house/art gallery itself was made of scrap wood from an old church/convent. He said he’s fond of scrap wood. He also holds art camp from time to time. A very down to earth man.

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I never thought this trip would be this much. The trip was concluded with a great meal served with fried Itik among other great varieties of local food.

This is what I love about Random Travel. You get to see places you never thought you would see and there’s a much more greater amount of appreciation. Being with people you don’t really know makes it more exciting. Everything is a surprise, a package full of unexpected things. A random trip you will truly remember. All you have to have is an open mind, welcoming aura and great appreciation of the nature and arts.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bag and go somewhere Random with no plans, just go! You’ll not only learn more about yourself, you’ll learn more about the place that surrounds you. 🙂

Happy Travels!

Cagayan Trip: Visit to Our Lady of Piat & Exploring Callao Cave

After the memorable experience in Palaui Island and seeing the majestic beauty of Nangaramoan Beach, we arrived back in Tuguegarao after more than 3 hours of travel. We were picked up at the van terminal and went back to Brgy Bagay to freshen up a bit.

Around half past 10, we’re back on the road. We went to Central Terminal along Buntuan Highway to catch a van going to Piat. It was an hour ride. Note: It’s an ordinary van, No airconditioning. Fare Cost: 60 Pesos.

Since most vans just stop at the terminal, you need to walk to get to Our Lady of Piat. It can easily be recognised by a marker along the road. Turn left going up to get to the basilica. If you go straight you’ll reach the local market.

For more than 400 years the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Piat has been a significant event in the lives of devotees of the people in the Cagayan Valley.

Feeling hungry and tired, we decided to look for a place where we could eat Pancit Cabagan. Instead of walking, we took a tricycle going to the market area because it was too hot. We went to Carmela’s Panciteria. You won’t get lost on your way here because most people know this place. Simply ask for directions or ask where to get Pancit Cabagan.

It was a delicious treat! Not bad if you imagine us travelling all the way here just to try an authentic Pancit Cabagan. You’ll get a Super Special Pancit Cabagan for just 50 pesos. Yummy!

With no time to waste after lunch, we immediately went to the van terminal to catch a ride going back to Tuguegarao.

This time it took us less than an hour to get back to Central Terminal.

Just before 3PM we rode a tricycle going to Callao Cave. Callao is pronounced as “Kalaw”. It is a cave with seven chambers located on the Province of Cagayan. It is one of the best known tourist attractions of the province. It is located in Barangays Magdalo and Quibal, Peñablanca, near Tuguegarao City, the capital city of the Province of Cagayan. It has a natural cathedral located at the first chamber, which was turned into a chapel by the local people.

Turn Right to get to Callao Cave.

Once you arrive in the place, you have to few along this road to get to the registration area.

There’s a 20 pesos charge to get in.

It takes 184 Steps to get to the Cave Entrance.

Finally Inside Callao Cave.

After Caving and before heading back home, we decide to treat ourselves with a yummy HaloHalo.

It was almost sundown so we decided to get closer to Cagayan River and witness yet another beautiful sunset.

An hour after leaving Callao, we’re back in Tuguegarao. Before going back to Brgy Bagay, we stopped at the nearest Alcala Carabao’s Milk Candy.

Back in Brgy Bagay, we washed up and packed all our stuff and went straight to Florida Bus Terminal. Luckily there were few bus still offering seats for 3. Only to realise we’re 4. Haha. Since seats available are only at the back, we took it. Lex who joined us in the trip decided to squeeze in but not all the way to Manila. He was able to book a flight from Cauayan to Manila. I didn’t even notice him leaving. Haha. It was a quick bus ride. We reached manila around 5 in the morning.

 

Mt. Napulauan Traverse

ITINERARY (HUNGDUAN-HAPAO TRAVERSE)

*Observe Basic Mountaineering Course… Please put all candy wrapper/chocolate wrapper/cigarette butt in your packet during trek… LEAVE NO TRACE!

***Extracted from Relax Extremely Daring Mountaineers Archives

via Mt. Napulauan Traverse.